Grant permit for one house per five acres
October 3, 2008 · Updated 1:33 AM
How ironic that just across the page from Mr. John L. Adams'
eloquent defense of the Treemont development (4/27/00) is a small but
gut-wrenching article from Olympia concerning the average annual loss
of 30,000 acres of wildlife habitat to human use in Washington state since
Here are several important and alarming points omitted in this
letter, but worthy of consideration: The reduced number of 194 houses
still means 194 septic systems on a virtual clear cut above two fragile
waterways and their surrounding wetlands and farmlands. No one at the
decision-making level seems to be remarking the potential catastrophic effect on
the numerous existing private wells on this ridge and/or the now-clean aquifer.
No state-of-the-art technology will protect this ecosystem if any of
these proposed septics fail, or are caused to fail by landslide or earthquake.
The majority of this ridge, composed of layers of glacial rock and several
kinds of slide-prone clay, historically does not perk, and the majority of
existing septics in the same area are above-ground, mound systems. Where
will our water come from, and who will pay for new wells if our current
wells become contaminated? King County?
The proposed "buffers" are, in fact, and according to Mr. Johns' own
map, actually three very small clusters of trees on the uphill side of the edge
of the development, quite insignificant in the face of losing those nearly
250 acres of lush second-growth forest habitat. The "buffers" are clearly
strategically placed to preserve the "view."
The proposed state-of-the-art stormwater and runoff pipeline
substantially exceeds the normally permitted length of one-quarter mile.
The developer claims that the water flowing from this pipeline will have
no impact on the flood-prone Snoqualmie River or the salmon-bearing
Patterson Creek. It is incredible to think that
any study costing any amount of money could accurately predict such a
rosy picture when the farmers that now live and work just below the proposed
development can and do affirm otherwise.
At the King County Council meeting last Monday, Mr. Johns,
Port Blakely's attorney, also said that diverting water from Patterson
Creek would not have any significant impact because it pretty much dries up in
the summer anyway! Ask the farmers who live and work along Patterson
Creek if this is an accurate statement!
And, as disturbing as I find the above points, and as a resident of
the ridge in question (in a house on 5 acres, conforming to rural zoning),
I find the lack of vision apparent in the granting of so many exceptions
to rules and zoning variances designed to protect such rural and sensitive
areas truly disheartening. In many recent Fall City community meetings
the overwhelming sentiment expressed was in favor of maintaining the
rural character of this area.
To allow this high-density, Klahanie-style development to go
forward is to completely ignore the fact that it will forever destroy the
clear Rural-Urban boundary currently designated by the King County's
Growth Management plan. It will then only be a matter of time before the
working farmers in the Valley lose more precious topsoil to flooding, and until
the already-struggling salmon population disappears from local water.
Please, King County, have the vision to say no to the short-sighted and
profit-motivated 194 houses.
Grant permits only for the "one house to five acre" alternate plan
proposed by the developer himself, that will allow us to preserve both our
way of life and the legacy we must leave to the generations that will follow us!
Carol Siipola Chittum